World Bank Pledges Support For Nigerian Agric Sector | Independent Newspapers Limited
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World Bank Pledges Support For Nigerian Agric Sector

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Posted: Mar 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase, Lagos

Vice President, African Region of the World Bank, Mukhtar Diop has expressed the willingness of the World Bank to give necessary support to accelerate the Nigerian agricultural sector. He made the submission when he led a delegation from the World Bank to a meeting with the minister of agriculture in his office in Abuja. He stated that his organisation noted the vision of the present administration towards the development of agricultural sector, stressing that the team was in the ministry to map out ways of assisting Nigeria in moving the sector to the next level.
According to him, the World Bank had developed and launched a regional project which covers countries like Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso in agriculture, adding that Chad has a grazing area that had been identified as a one-stop shop which has specific points of access to water, irrigation services, educational services and other services to support farmers.

Diop who said he was passionate about agriculture, promised to work with Nigeria in areas of milk production, agricultural value chains, irrigation systems among others for the growth and development of agriculture in the country. Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, in his response called for a collective sub-regional solution to tackle the problems of cattle movement which had posed serious problems resulting to violence between farmers and herdsmen stating that the attention of the government had hitherto focused on some segments of farmers such as rice, cotton, soya bean while nobody has remembered to do anything for the cattle farmers who now resorted to self-help that often leads to violence.

He added that cattle roaming usually depleted their nutrients thereby reducing the quantity and quality of milk and meat produced. The minister also expressed concern over the population growth in the West African sub-region with a high number of unemployed youths and advocated the need for African countries to deal with the issue, saying that there was no proper attention to the plight of the youths in the past.

Ogbeh however commended the World Bank for their support for the country in so many areas including that given to agriculture over the years and solicited for more support particularly in livestock production.

He expressed the urgent need for the World Bank to support the West African countries to solve the problem of cattle grazing, saying that “it is time for West Africa to stop cattle roaming so that the production of milk will rise while the Fulani herdsmen would live a normal life.”

The Minister also sought for support from the World Bank in the agricultural value chain, packaging and standardization of agricultural produce, agricultural mechanization, seed quality among others. He said there was need for Nigeria to have an all-year-round farming practice by harvesting three crops of maize and two crops of rice annually in order to catch up with the needs of population growth which he put at 450 million by the year 2050.
He maintained that the Labour Intensive Family Enterprise (LIFE) of the Federal Government, which is on course would create wealth and jobs to the rural youths and women as well as reduce rural-urban migration. He explained that agro processing mills would be established in local communities to cater for the needs of rural dwellers, adding that extension service centres would be open at every local government area in the country to educate and enlighten farmers on farming operations. He posited that a stronger partnership with the World Bank would help in policy supports, programme development and implementation.